ACT Brumbies

ACT Brumbies S14 2009 preview

ACT Brumbies S14 2009 preview

brumbies-logo1The Brumbies have always been flashy, show-ponies to some extent, so it has been rather sad watching the decline from Thoroughbreds to Cart-horses that has taken place in the nation’s capital over the last few years.  Retirements to key personnel and an injury plague of biblical proportions consigned our equine brothers to ‘also-rans’ in last year’s Super 14.

As the Brumbies spiralled from contenders to mid-table speed humps, it was as if the post Gregan/Larkham hangover would never end.  This year however, with a new coach, a new captain and shrewd recruitment – we may finally see the Brumbies make it back into the winner’s circle.

The superbly credentialed Andy Friend takes over from the last year’s ‘dead-man walking’ Laurie Fisher and has already put his stamp on the set-up by appointing a new captain and making the somewhat left field decision of employing former mungo coach Tony Rea as an assistant.

With Stephen Hoiles taking over from Stirling Mortlock as captain, it should give the Brumbies an injection of enthusiasm and let Morty concentrate on either running over or belting the opposition centres.

Moore - now in Brumbies flavour

Moore - now in Brumbies flavour

The Brumbies off season recruitment has been very focused and very good, the addition of Stephen Moore from the Reds and up-an-comer Ben Hand from the ‘Tahs will fill some quite obvious holes from last year.


It may not be obvious to those who only have a passing interest in the Brumbies, but they have managed to put together what could quite possibly be the best forward pack in the competition.

The addition of Moore and Hand and the off-season development of Mark Chisholm will help sure up a line-out that at times last season resembled a Marx Brother’s movie.  Add to these new additions last season Brumbies new-comers and first time Wallaby tourists Ben Alexander and Peter Kimlin, and the scrum also looks like it will have far more starch than last season’s wet lettuce affair as well.

New captain Hoiles and flankers Julian Salvi and Mitch Chapman all face career defining seasons after being passed over for the spring Wallaby tour and this sort of motivation may well see them produce the best form of their football lives as a riposte.

Not a bad line-up huh?….and that is before you throw George Smith’s name into the equation.


Last season was a shocker for the Brumbies backs, everyone seemed to be injured – even the reserve reserves couldn’t get on the park at times.  The silver lining to this is that most of the backline squad have had some pretty solid Super 14 experience.

As with the forwards, when you cast a casual eye over the line-up, it makes for pretty impressive reading.  Mortlock, fit again Clyde Rathbone, Mark Gerrard, Adam Ashley-Cooper and last year’s rookie of the season, Tyrone Smith, complete a powerful and pacy set of outside backs that will take some handling.  Combine this with impressive new boys like Francis Fainifo, former ‘Tah Alfie Mafi and old stager Gene Fairbanks and the picture is even rosier in terms of depth and experience.

That’s the good news….now for the bad.  Neither Patrick Phibbs nor Josh Holmes was able to make the no. 9 jersey their own in 2008 and if this lack of consistency continues, the Brumbies are sunk.  Of greater concern is the fly-half position, while Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua are incredibly talented youngsters, their glaring lack of a consistent kicking game will hurt the Brumbies as they will struggle to gain field position to unleash the monster backline.


The Brumbies are being quoted as long as 15/1 to win the Super 14 with some on-line betting agencies which is definitely overs, if The Cote were framing the market he would have them around 8’s.

All across the park there is proven top-shelf rugby talent, apart from arguably the most critical area’s in Super 14, half-back and fly-half. This will probably cruel their chances of winning the competition however they well and truly have the talent and experience to sneak into the finals and once that happens, well who knows?……might be worth a lazy Redback on them at 15/1.

Best Match-day squad

1.    Alexander
2.    Moore
3.    Ma’afu
4.    Kimlin
5.    Chisholm
6.    Chapman
7.    G. Smith
8.    Hoiles
9.    Holmes
10.    Lealiifano
11.    Rathbone
12.    T. Smith
13.    Mortlock
14.    Ashley-Cooper
15.    Gerrard
16. Edmonds
17. Shepardson
18. Hand
19. Salvi
20. Phibbs
21. Toomua
22. Fainifo

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